A very useful Web-based tool called the Global Powder Metallurgy Database now exists to search properties for nearly 2,500 powder metals. The database has been created by parts manufacturers and powder producers across the world through three trade associations: the Metal Powder Industries Federation (MPIF), the European Powder Metallurgy Association (EPMA), and the Japan Powder Metallurgy Association (JPMA). You an find detailed mechanical, physical and fatigue properties for materials identified by ISO or MPIF code. Materials include structural steels, stainless steels, soft magnetic alloys, bearings, and nonferrous. Once you discover grades with acceptable properties, the Web site guides you to specific contacts at suppliers. Data can be downloaded as Excel or FEA software files. Data for metal injection molding was added last year. Use of the database is free, but registration is required.
An MIT research team has invented what they see as a solution to the need for biodegradable 3D-printable materials made from something besides petroleum-based sources: a water-based robotic additive extrusion method that makes objects from biodegradable hydrogel composites.
Alcoa has unveiled a new manufacturing and materials technology for making aluminum sheet, aimed especially at automotive, industrial, and packaging applications. If all its claims are true, this is a major breakthrough, and may convince more automotive engineers to use aluminum.
NASA has just installed a giant robot to help in its research on composite aerospace materials, like those used for the Orion spacecraft. The agency wants to shave the time it takes to get composites through design, test, and manufacturing stages.
The European Space Agency (ESA) is working with architects Foster + Partners to test the possibility of using lunar regolith, or moon rocks, and 3D printing to make structures for use on the moon. A new video shows some cool animations of a hypothetical lunar mission that carries out this vision.
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